Late October 2017

Hiiiiiiii. I was on a super-quick work trip in Tampa earlier this week, or I would have posted this sooner. It was, ahhhhhm… well, not the easiest trip, and I feel like it took 3 days just to recover from a short 48-hour travel business trip. I mean put aside the fact that the city has a serial killer on the loose targeting those walking alone at dark (and did I mention my hotel was a 15-minute walk from my meeting hotel…) – in addition to that fun fact I just had tons of travel issues. Multiple delayed flights, stuck in Charlotte for 3 hours alone due to terrible weather, plus rude plane seatmates, etc.

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I showed up at my hotel in Tampa at the wee hours of the morning only to find out they no longer had a room for me, so I was sent to another hotel down the street for one night, (because ha, oh yes, don’t get too settled down there, you will have to come back here). Which meant unpacking work clothes and ironing them because I’d have to put them on my body in 3 hours but also re-packing my bags so I could check out in 3 hours so I could walk down to the other hotel and store my bags there in anticipation of checking into a room that evening AND NEEDLESS TO SAY: I didn’t sleep much. After two nights previous up most of the night dealing with a sick coughing Linus. Soooooo. That was some sleep deprivation compounded.

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I mean all whining aside: after all the meetings I did get away for a nice long dinner with my coworkers, and the fun chats plus sangria and tostones topped with smoked chicken, shredded meat with yellow rice, garlicky salads and fried plantains – yep, I mean it killed any healthy living I’ve been doing since vacation, but it sure did the trick to soothe the weary soul. Tampa, you got that good food thing going for ya.

That night I finally checked into my (now correct) hotel at 10p, and had a shuttle scheduled somewhere between 4:30-5:00a to take me to the airport. I got to my room and got everything meticulously packed for my flights the next day, called home and caught up with Scott, got ready for bed, set my toiletries/outfit out in the bathroom and set the alarm for 4am, and then fell asleep watching Ken Burn’s Vietnam War*, somewhere around midnight.

(*Probably not the best bedtime viewing, as I woke up 3 times before my alarm, all with nightmares, one time I woke up and swore I heard heavy breathing somewhere in the room, YAY FUN TIMES.  So much for 4 whole hours of sleep for me…)

ANYWAY. When I finally rolled over to look at the alarm the 4th time I woke up, it read 4:38a.

FOUR THIRTY EIGHT. That’s 38 minutes after my alarm went off (??) and exactly 8 minutes LATE for my shuttle’s earliest arrival time.

I flew out of bed, stumbled to the bathroom, squirted toothpaste in my mouth and ran a brush through my hair and jumped into my clothes, fumbled toiletries into my bag, ran to the bathroom to spit out toothpaste, and flew out the door.

Now, it would be important at this time to point out: this hotel was currently under construction. The lobby had work going on, the halls when I got to the hotel were clearly under construction, and my room smelled of a very fresh paint job. Compound that with the fact that, when I hopped out into that hallway all blearly-eyed, I could not remember anything from how I got there late that evening before.  So I decided left sounded as good a direction as any, and sprinted down the hall.

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I ran down what felt like the longest hall in the world, hit an elevator and stairway area in the corner, and stabbed the Down button.  The elevator arrived, opened, and… it was completely stripped.  Walls made of nothing but insulation, and sorry but I do recall riding a normal elevator last night.  In my sleep-deprived brain, I decided this must be the service elevator, turned heel, and sprinted back down the hall, to to the other side of the hotel floor.

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I should also point out that this is a hotel with only 6 levels but is very wiiiiiiide, so it took forever to get to the other end. And what do you know: no elevator, only some stairs. The other side had, in fact, been the correct elevator, apparently stripped for renovation overnight.  DAMMIT.  I checked my phone and it was now 4:45a.  I swore (maybe loudly ish?  I am hoping under my breath.  But I was still half-asleep so…) and decided there was no time to waste running back to the other side of the hotel, so I pulled open the door and sprinted down the stairs.

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Do I point out at this point that I’m dragging a laptop bag strapped against my chest and an overnight bag hoisted over one shoulder?  I am sure I was quite the sight, if any other fool was awake to witness that mess.

Anyway, I hit the lobby level, ripped open the door, and there: was an employee-only parking garage.  WHAT IN THE FRESH HELL IS THIS SHIT WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME WHY GOD WHYYYYY.  So, as was now my jam, I just started running.

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I ran across a parking garage.  I spotted a circular ramp, and ran down that for good measure.  I realized this put me at ground level, and in my strangely panicked-yet-calm state (thanks, sleep deprivation) I figured I should at the very least find my way somehow to the hotel valet area, and hopefully intercept my shuttle before it considered me a no-show and left my ass.

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I’m running, and in one of the small breaks of concrete where there are privacy shrubbery stuff, I spy the pool area.  So I veer over there, squeeze my way through the shrubbery, book it to the pool fence, miraculously get into the pool area, sprint past the pool and Jacuzzi and all the lounge chairs, and find a door into the hotel itself.

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It’s open.  No need even for a key card.  YES.  I rip the door open, I fly down the hallway to the lobby, I come to a screeching stop at the front desk.  A security guard tells me he’ll pull a staff member to check me out. I look down. My phone now says 4:50a. I turn my head to the front of the hotel, only to see my shuttle driver just pulling up to the circular drive.

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Holy fucking shit you guys just like something out of a movie.

So that’s the story of how I almost missed my shuttle but by some Act of God I didn’t, and I texted my husband at 4:53a from my shuttle to tell him my harrowing story of almost missing my shuttle.  And I was still bleary-eyed, shaky, half asleep.  And also I tipped my shuttle driver handsomely because I was so grateful for his miraculous timing.

My flight home: blissfully uneventful. Most flights on time, polite seat mates. I even had time to grab Scott some good grub at O’Hare before catching my flight to Madison. And, that’s kinda it.  Except I’m almost bummed I never ran into the Tampa serial killer so I could ask him what his parents did to him or if he was dropped on his head as a child (also a real actual thing serial killers have in common! DON’T DROP YOUR BABIES Y’ALL).

Hey though aaaaaanyway!  The real meat n’ potatoes, what we actually did this October!  I mean we did a lot of stuff but here are the few things where I actually brought along the camera.

First up: the Spartan Stampede.  We haven’t been back for this since Peter was in school at St. James, and it was interesting running into his old buds and everyone really straining to remember each other.

We ran-walked the whole thing.  For once, I was the one who was not winded during the running portions, and coaxed the kids to run a little more.  WINNING.  All that spinning-and-cardio time I do during the week finally has some pay off…

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Brother secrets.

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There is a nice park right next to the race end, so obviously we were stuck there for a healthy chunk of time.

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And there’s that.  I also took a few randoms while at home.  Notably: Linus is addicted to Baby Driver.  Now, obviously there’s about 75% of it that is inappropriate for kiddos, but all of the car chases are kid-friendly and they are all available on YouTube, so Linus has been watching them all about a dozen times in a row when we allow it.  He also requested to be Baby Driver for Halloween but I never quite made that happen.  Pray for me that he doesn’t go berserk on Halloween when I don’t present him with a Baby Driver costume.

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Linus continues to steal cheese on the regular (dude, that was for a recipe, come on…).

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(Side note: this is a pretty solid recipe I have missed making, God bless butternut squash season.)

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Usually we hit Waldvogel Farm for pumpkin-picking time, but this year we were short on time and just hit up Peck’s, which is half the driving time.  No one seemed to care, all the same fun things to do.

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Aaaand there you go. I’ll update one more time with all the Halloween-themed goodness!  Have a great rest of October, folks, and we’ll see you again very soon.  Get some sleep yo.

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